Mayor Boris and his spin doctor Guto Hari must have been frantic yesterday afternoon, when the City Hall porter brought through the day’s Evening Standard containing an extensive and mostly favourable interview with Ken Livingstone, conducted by the newspaper’s well-connected Editor, Geordie Greig.
It had been suggested that the reason Livingstone lost the London Mayoral election in 2008 was because he’d lost the support of the taxi drivers and had alienated the Standard.
Well, by all accounts bicycle-biased Boris has now managed to pee-off the cab drivers, and the Standard, under new ownership and editorship, now looks to be back onside, too.
South London-born and educated Livingstone famously launched his campaign for re-election in Croydon, and while he has yet to overcome the challenge of Oona King for the Labour party nomination for the Mayoral election in 2012, Ken already has the backing of the Labour leader on Croydon Council, Tony Newman.
His Standard interview is well worth a read.
“If you look through a year of Evening Standards in 1999 you get the impression of a city falling apart at the seams — but by 2008 it was the great success story of all international cities.
“The strategy we set for London was getting big business, trade unions and the greens broadly into a consensus of how the capital would work over the next 20 years. Tony Travers of the LSE worked out that we got £39 billion out of government in those years. I fear that no one is going to do that again.”